Friday, November 29, 2013
We often wait until someone dies to pay tribute to them. However, since my dad is fully alive, I want to pay tribute to him now.
As the Duke football team approaches one of the biggest games in their history, there is not a more encouraging and loyal fan than Joe Holt. My dad is a Duke graduate and he loves Duke sports. Now, when I say that, you are probably thinking Duke basketball. But no, I am talking Duke football. Of course he enjoys Duke basketball, but Duke football is where his real devotion lies. And the reason being? Because Joe Holt is one of the most encouraging and loyal people alive.
Duke football has needed encouragement and loyalty, because historically they have been one of the worst football programs in the nation. That is, until Coach David Cutcliffe came along in 2007. When Cutcliffe took over, Duke’s previous four seasons had a won-loss record of 6-45. So, you can see why Duke was not known for their football achievements.
Duke struggled for several seasons as Cutclifffe worked to rebuild the program, but this year the stars have aligned!!!! Duke plays North Caroline tomorrow, and if they win, they will be the champions of the Coastal Division of the ACC and play Florida State (#2 in the nation) for the ACC Championship. Duke has already won more games than any Duke football team since 1941! This year they have defeated nationally ranked teams such as Virginia Tech and Miami.
When Cutcliffe took over as Duke’s coach, my dad bought season tickets–for Duke football, not basketball, just to make sure you are still following this. And he has had season tickets every year since. He not only attends all the home games, but he also attends many of the away games. If that is not enough, he goes to the spring practice game every year. And if that is still not enough, and this is the part I will always remember: he has written countless letters to both the players and Coach Cutfliffe every season. Why? Because he is an encourager. He loves to find the good in people and encourage them to be even better. And he writes these letters because he is loyal. He loves the underdog and remains loyal to the underdog, until the underdog just might be the champion dog! We will see if that is the case tomorrow.
Whether Duke wins or looses against UNC tomorrow, they could not have a more loyal and encouraging fan than my father. I love you Dad, and go Duke!